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The Source of Purpose


John 17:4 “Having finished the work you gave me to do, I brought you glory on earth.”

Philippians 3:14 “I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”

Many people have been taught how to manage life via a goals and objectives model, but few have been instructed to give thought to the SOURCE of those objectives.   Scripture teaches that purpose precedes planning.   So how do we balance the activities of our life with the purpose from God?   Which comes first?

Purpose is NOT the adding up of new activities.   It is not realized while trying to meet certain goals.   An objective is defined as a basic aim that a person takes in order to accomplish a predetermined end.   Just as activities without objectives are unfulfilling, so are objectives without purpose.   Staying busy racking up successes is not helping you find your purpose.   Consider this a warning: Achievement can be stimulating, but it is not fulfilling over the long haul of life.

What is purpose?   Purpose is simply what God wants our life to add up to and why.

The only difference for the non-believer is who he is pleasing with his purpose.   Purpose is gained by understanding the program and story of God.   If you don t know God, you can t know how to participate in His purpose for your life.   It s so simple, it s hard.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) perfectly illustrates this for us in Acts 9.   As he is traveling on the Damascus road he has a supernatural encounter with Jesus.   After Jesus gets his attention, Paul asked these two questions: Who are you Lord? and What do you want me to do?   The first question is one of purpose, and the second question is one of objectives and activities.

The key is in knowing God and allowing Him to determine and direct your life. It all starts with knowing Him.   How can we find purpose without knowing God?   You can t.

We need to concern ourselves with what God concerns himself with.   Then, and only then, will God s purpose for us be revealed.

How much of your life is directed by eternal focus (sensitive to what God is concerned with), and how much is strictly temporal focus (survival, getting ahead, doing what looks good)?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.